Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Cfp: "Philosophy in East Africa: Towards Critical Thinking, Professionalism and Democracy," University of Dar es Salaam, November 18-20, 2009.

In cooperation with: UNESCO, Dar es Salaam; Friedrich Ebert Stiftung, Dar es Salaam; Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies, University of Nairobi; Department of Philosophy, Makerere University, Uganda; Department of Social and Moral Philosophy, University of Helsinki, Finland; The Embassy of Finland, Dar es Salaam (to be confirmed). Teaching philosophy * critical analysis and independent thinking, political philosophy and (professional) ethics * plays a central role in the development of democracy and enlightened citizenry. Focusing on the protection and promotion of human rights, professional conduct, good governance, issues of social justice, as well as on research ethics, philosophers within the East African Community have a significant role in developing, leading, as well as implementing the appropriate codes of conduct both within as well as outside the academia. Concentrating especially on social, political and moral philosophy as well as on ethics (including professional ethics and development ethics), the Philosophy Unit at UDSM gives essential training, and contributes to the public discussions by providing well argued, critical perspectives on public policies, research ethics (including medical ethics and bioethics), and current affairs. The UDSM also leads the way in setting the standards of teaching philosophy in Tanzania, being the only Philosophy Unit within the country. The Philosophy Departments at the University of Nairobi and Makerere University in Kampala * with longer traditions in teaching philosophy * also have strong focuses on combining academic philosophy with the current state of affairs, including specifically tailored Masters programmes in Ethics and Public Management, and in Human Rights (Makerere). Despite the central role of (especially) social and moral philosophy for the development within the region, the Philosophy Units and Departments face enormous challenges, both internally as well as in finding their place in the often complicated relations between the governmental and non-governmental organizations, academic institutional structures, as well as the general public. Besides the lack of material resources, qualified staff and the ever increasing number of students, the expansion and development of Philosophy is often slowed down by bureaucracy and by the lack of political will. Being a relatively new discipline at the Universities in East Africa, Philosophy Units and Departments are still in the process of establishing their places both within the academia, as well as in the public sphere. This conference brings together scholars from the University of Nairobi, Makerere University, UDSM, as well as from other African universities (including several universities within Tanzania, who are currently only able to offer few courses in philosophy) to discuss the current state, challenges and future developments of teaching philosophy in East Africa. The conference aims at creating a forum for scholars from different countries to discuss the current state and role of Philosophy within the East African Community, and establish more institutionalized links between the Philosophy Units and Departments within the region. The conference also advances research co-operation, and the North-South *link between University of Helsinki and the collaborating universities of Nairobi, Makerere and Dar es Salaam. For general enquiries, please contact: Dr. Masoud Nassor; Tel. +255 71 369 1011; Fax. +255 22 241 0648.

1 comment:

  1. Africa needs a "Black is Beautiful" philosophy that takes pride in the color ebony instead of seething at injustices inflicted by the white man. To pull themselvesby their bootstrings is to be the goal of all Africa's youth. Blacks hae a good sense of rhythm which they can employ in their art, science and literature.